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The Who, what, when of road tripping with kids

By Tracy Curtis
Tracy Lee Curtis
Tracy Lee Curtis is a humorist, writer and speaker. She writes family humor for the Charlotte Observer. Her column appears each Sunday.

It’s been a while since I’ve road-tripped with the kids. I stopped doing it when they started throwing pacifiers and bottles at me from their car seats. But at 10 and 7, being in the car with them is a whole different experience.

Did you know you can build a fort in the car? You just pull all the beach towels over the seats. If you have a boogie board, you can put up a wall and convert the back seat into two rooms. One of my kids put his iPod in a plastic cup for echo and amplification, creating his very own stereo system.

Apparently my kids hate it when I put emphasis on the wrong part of a word. I accidentally say “Bo-JANG-les” and they go nuts. For the rest of the drive, I say things like MAC Donald’s, does anyone need to go to the bathROOM, and could someone hand me some beef JERKY.

They love The Who. We pick up a classic rock station and they hear “Baba O’Riley” for the first time and think it’s the best song ever. I don’t really like hearing my kids singing “teenage wasteland” at the top of their lungs, but it’s fun watching their eyeballs spin around in their heads during the frenetic organ sequence at the end.

Takes a while to sort out who we’re listening to …

“Mom, who is this?”

“The Who.”

“This band. Who is it?”

“The Who.”

“We’re asking! WHO IS IT?”

Didn’t Abbott and Costello already do this? Hope they don’t play “American Woman” by The Guess Who. We’ll go ’round and ’round all day.

They also love the smell of gasoline. I learn this when I pull the nozzle out of the tank too soon and splash gas all over my arms and legs. Now that I think about it, maybe it was the fumes that kicked that Who song up a few notches.

And even at 7 and 10 they still ask “how many more minutes” before we get there. Minutes?

I would tell them to refer to the GPS. But that number inches up every time you break, stop, or have to hose off behind a gas station.

In the end, I pull up to the beach house, and since they’re buried in their forts, they don’t realize we’re finally here. I have to run around the car to each side of the fort and pull them out.

“Let’s go! Pete Townhend isn’t getting any younger.”

“Who?”

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